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Mandolin Tutorial

The Mandolin of Norman Blake

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9 Videos | Length: 1hr 25min 20sec
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  • image description 9:27

    Chapter 1

    Norman plays us some mandolin before talking about holding, picking, and the basics.

  • image description 14:41

    Chapter 2

    Norman shows you John Brown's March, in G Major. Norman tears each part apart so you can understand and play it on your own!

  • image description 14:10

    Chapter 3

    In this video, Norman talks about picks and shows you a tune call Camels Farewell to Red Gap before breaking down each part to put in your song book.

  • image description 6:47

    Chapter 4

    Norman teaches a song called Holly Popper, and shows all the fingerings and licks from scratch before putting it all back together again.

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    Chapter 5

    It's Tone-Time! Norman shows some different mandolins and talks about the tone and differences between different models.

  • image description 4:43

    Chapter 6

    Nancy comes in with a beautiful mandolin and song to learn for yourself.

  • image description 5:03

    Chapter 7

    In this video, Norman teaches a song that uses tremolo and helps you master your speed behind this technique.

  • image description 12:43

    Chapter 8

    Norman and Nancy play a 3 part tune where you'll learn each part for your self!

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    Chaptger 9

    Norman and Nancy plays a piece called The Mandolin Fan Fare together and breaks it down so you can learn both parts. Norman signs out and plays one last tune.

Product Overview


Before there was bluegrass there were fiddle tunes, mostly brought to these shores from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In this Homespun video tutorial series, Norman and Nancy Blake teach beautiful, little-known old-time and original instrumentals in the Celtic and Southern mountain tradition.

All of the tunes presented here will be easy to learn by intermediate-level mandolinists. Norman and Nancy Blake have chosen hauntingly beautiful mandolin instrumentals in the Celtic and Southern mountain traditions, and each of the tunes is a gem chosen for easy learning by intermediate-level mandolin players. The duo generously shares tips and advice on tuning, phrasing, ornamentation, double-stops, tremolos, drones, split strings and other essential topics.

Norman teaches lovely traditional tunes, playing each one up to speed and then slowed down as our split-screen close-ups capture both the picking and the fingering in detail. You'll learn little-known pieces like John Brown's March, Campbell's Farewell To Red Gap and The Hollow Poplar.

Nancy then shows you how to play her own Father's Hall. Norman's slow Irish air The Little Fair Child features tremolo, and the spectacular Jack Danielson's Reel, with its leaps up and down the neck, challenges players with more advanced technique. Green Castle Hornpipe, and two duets, Mandolin Fanfare and Blake's March, close this excellent lesson.

As a bonus you’ll see how Norman uses prized vintage instruments to demonstrate differences in tone, including his "Style B" Lyon & Healy, a 1914 Martin, a 1914 Gibson "A4", a 1922 white-top "A3" and a 1923 Lloyd Loar "F5.


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Norman Blake is an American instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter. In a career spanning more than 60 years Blake has played in a number of folk and country groups and is considered one of the leading figures in the bluegrass revival of the 1970s, and is still active today, playing concert dates and making albums with his wife Nancy Blake.

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    tutorial video

    The Mandolin of Norman Blake

    Before there was bluegrass there were fiddle tunes, mostly brought to these shores from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In this Homespun video tutorial series, Norman and Nancy Blake teach beautiful, little-known old-time and original instrumentals in the Celtic and Southern mountain tradition.

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